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Hancock High School students to head to National History Day competition

May 24, 2011
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Several Hancock High School students qualified for the upcoming National History Day competition, which will be held at the University of Maryland from June 12 through June 16.

Aaron Posega, the only student who will be going to the competition, advanced in the individual website category for a site about the formation of the United Nations.

Other local students honored at the state level include:

Article Photos

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Hancock High School students Mariah Hallstrom, Kassie Simula, Kristen Berg, Kelsey Bekkala, Katelyn Anderson, Aaron Posega, Brook Harter, Kaylee Hanson and Dinah Bekkala are seen in front of the school. The students, along with Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School student Erica LeClaire, won honors at the recent state History Day competition.

national finalists Dinah Bekkala, Kaylee Hanson and Brook Harter, who made a group documentary about the copper miners' strike of 1913.

national finalists Katelyn Anderson, Kelsey Bekkala and Kristen Berg who did a group performance project on "The Diary of Fashion."

alternate Mariah Hallstrom, for the individual documentary "Detroit Burning: The 12th Street Riot," about the deadly 1967 riot.

alternate Cassie Simula, for "The Boundary Question: A Simple Debate That Caused the Toledo War."

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School student Erica LeClaire, who won best entry in use of oral history for "How Far Is Too Far? Josef Mengele's Debatable Experiments on the Twins of Auschwitz."

Students picked topics relating to the year's theme, "Debate and Diplomacy in History."

For the fashion group, it was a matter of finding a topic in which they were interested that meshed with the topic. In Hallstrom's case, the idea came from an earlier project where a relative had mentioned the riot.

For the mining strike group, "We thought it'd be interesting to do something local," Hanson said.

Work on the projects started in October, four months before the regional competition.

"We did a lot of looking through the digital photo archives at Michigan Tech," Dinah Bekkala said.

Between regionals and state, the students moving on adjusted their projects to better compete against stiffer competition, whether that meant adding more on the most interesting figures or trimming away extraneous information.

For nationals, Posega is adding a few new sources and adding a bit more, but he is keeping most of it the same. He's excited for the trip.

"It's going to be fun just to meet all of the people and see what they've done, and also just go to Washington, D.C.," he said.

Hancock High School teacher Senia Kuntze, who oversaw the Hancock students, is proud of their performance.

"This is my first year with national qualifiers, so it was exciting for us, to know we had that caliber of projects. ... I think it's inspirational, not only for myself, but for students in the coming year, to know they can compete with the best in the nation," she said.



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